Zambezi expedition: Fighting Malaria on the river of life


The Zambezi, lifeline of southern Africa, will be the setting of a dramatic health project. On 29th March 2008, the Roll Back Malaria Zambezi Expedition launches into a two months voyage to showcase successes and highlight challenges associated with the fight against one of the globe’s leading infectious killers. Despite both preventable and curable, between one and three million people die of malaria each year – every 30 seconds a child in Africa.

In describing the project, Helge Bendle, a Berlin-based journalist who is involved with the project, says, “I feel that this project could be interesting for you and your readers, because the eradication of malaria (as planned by a forthcoming aid project for which the expedition is an advocacy vehicle) will boost tourism in many areas along the river (Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, Caprivi strip in Namibia, northern Botswana.”

She adds, “The project is not about frightening tourists (they know that there is malaria because responsible lodge owners tell them about the problem), but about showing how the region would benefit if malaria could be reduced along the riverbanks.”

Starting at the source of the river and finishing in its delta, medical teams will travel more than 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) in inflatable boats through Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. By exposing the difficulties of delivering mosquito nets and medications to remote areas, the Zambezi Expedition will demonstrate that only a coordinated cross-border action can force the disease to recoil and turn the lifeline of southern Africa into a “River of Life” for those threatened by malaria.

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